Larry and Debby Kline artists and provocateurs – installation, performances, and other works

“Show & Tell: Forty Acres But Not ‘Mule’” – San Diego Union Tribune (March 23, 2007)

“Show & Tell: Forty Acres But Not ‘Mule’”
by Robert L. Pincus
San Diego Union Tribune, March 23, 2007

Forty Acres Project, Larry Kline with flag

VISUAL ART: Escondido-based artists Larry and Debby Kline, a husband and wife who work collaboratively, have been creating socially critical projects for much of this decade.

For the ambitious “Electrical Fields of California,” which aimed to focus attention on health and environmental issues related to power transmission lines, they created installations from Niland, in the Imperial Valley, to Sonoma. The premise was simple: Power lines create electrical fields so powerful that they can light bulbs without a direct connection. Their luminous displays demonstrated this effect.

Now, in a newer project near Wendover, Utah, titled “Forty Acres,” they are raising the issue of land use. There’s no mule involved, but using what they call an M1 mobility scooter/tank, the Klines “captured 40 acres in the Bonneville Salt Flats and mined salt on land formerly held by the Bureau of Land Management BLM).’

The project was created during a residency the Klines did at the facilities of the Center for Land Use interpretation (CLUI), an artist-run organization based in Culver City that presents exhibitions about land use, sponsors projects and has its outpost at a former air base in Wendover. The Klines’ appropriation of the locale – you can decide whether it’s mock or real – is covered in the Winter 2007 issue of The Lay of the Land, the newsletter of the CLUI.

That account of “Forty Acres” is worth quoting: “They (the Klines) came prepared with a flag for the new territory, and defended it with a skeletal M1 Tank, which rolled around on the chassis of an electric wheelchair. The BLM official who manages the federally owned flats was seen approaching them for a discussion. What sort of bargain was struck remains unknown, but he left without drawing his sidearm. He probably had other things on his mind, such as enforcing the one mile exclusionary arc around the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean III’ set, shimmering in the distance.”

You can find a fuller history of the Klines’ art at

Union Tribune March 2007

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